THE RELUCTANT GARDENER – May 2024

By Mary Overly Davis

The weather forecast for this April week is biblical—floods, winds, snow, sun and seventy degrees, then cold and rainy again. I, the Reluctant Gardner, offer a gentle reminder that this is normal, and if the sun happens to shine in May, resist the urge to plant annuals until after Memorial Day. I make this mistake yearly. I get over-excited with the warming temperatures, expect every year to be an exception, plant some basil and invariably toss it out and replenish with full grown plants from the produce department of Price Chopper.

A few years ago, I purchased a Lenten Rose plant from there, tossed it over the railing, into the mint by the back door, and behold, it’s still alive! I have one glorious dusty-rose flower. Now that I feel confident that Rose can survive her wavering touch, and after a recent visit to the NewYork Botanical Garden, I have decided to buy one hundred more and plant them all over the yard. They offer joy and hope during these dreary days, and what more can one ask of a plant? Survival and purpose. Snowdrops too who are making their bright little appearance among soggy brown leaves. They are like botanical peepers by a pond that rise from the tundra to sing their bright songs of gratitude for the coming Spring.

This year, despite my usual negligence, my Forsythia appears to be on track for a bright yellow display. Often a source of disappointment because it doesn’t bloom every year. I usually get my burst of early Spring joy from a neighbor’s front yard carpet of some sort of violet flowers, perhaps a stalwart cousin of the snow drop. They too suffer nothing from years of neglect. I also take a short pilgrimage up Cabin Hill to partake of a neighbor’s tulip tree that glows like a giant halo over its dark shaded ground. Turn your ear to the sky and listen; You can almost hear the buds of the trees cracking open, “click, clock, click, clock…”. Soon there will be a symphony of chartreuse.~